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Stud History

Matta Mia Stud — est. 1970

Matta Mia

Matta Mia Arabian Stud began its existence with the purchase of a partbred mare, IRANO LASS, from Dick Best of Newbridge Stud, in 1965. I’d always had a yen for Arabians, and thinking about it made me realise that Banner in “Green Grass of Wyoming” by Mary O’Hara, was an Arabian stallion. Then I saw a front page photo of Silver Moonlight in the Hoofs and Horns magazine, and I fell hard. My own first horse was a mountain racing pony, as they were called, with a high Arabian content, and she was brilliant. “Rani” was a very reliable mare to ride, and I could do anything I wanted to do with her. Showing, polocrosse, cattle mustering, giving babies rides, whatever.

Matta Mia

The hills of Matta Mia

I began breeding when I was given a service to SALA(imp. U.K.) for Rani for my 21st birthday. The result of this service was the lovely mare SAJA, who has been an important mare in my stud. After Malcolm and I married and moved to Matta Mia, a property south east of Wagga Wagga, which was purchased by us in 1970, the horses showed their worth as we needed to do a lot of our work from horseback. The property was in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, and was either too steep, or sometimes too boggy to get around by anything other than horseback. The Riverina Division of the Arabian Horse Society of Australia was begun with a meeting in Wagga Wagga, and I was the inaugural secretary. I now felt the need to move up to purebreds. At the time they were not all that plentiful, with only a handful of locals breeding purebreds, and they were all, I’m pretty sure, either fully descended from Ag. College blood, or certainly with a large percentage of those bloodlines as a foundation, and of course, the Wagga Ag. College had their stud in full swing. I love bays, and had fallen for the Royal Domino (i.i.u. U.K.) lines, and fortunately one of the local breeders, and inaugural members of the Riv. Div. Pat and Kevin Esler of Karakatana Stud, up in the mountains, had bought KIZIL KUM by Royal Domino from a Royal Domino granddaughter Tiffal who was by the fantastic sire “Crystal Fire” (imp. U.K.). I purchased a lovely little filly KARAKATANA KUM MARA by Kizil from Hamara, thus bringing in the extremely important old college base bloodlines.

Then , of course, I needed a stallion! Marg and Don McDonald of Te’Hama Stud, Albury, loaned me their older stallion FIRECREST of college bloodlines, to learn how to handle a stallion. I bred some handy partbreds by him, as Kum Mara was still a baby, and I learned a lot.


Painting of Nasan

Then, Marty Stephens of Henley Farm Arabians, who was the secretary of the N.S.W. Division of the A.H.S.A. and with whom I had become friendly, offered me the lease with the option of buying, of a colt by Ralvon Pilgrim, who I admired very much. The colt, HENLEY FARM NASAN, out of Firefly, a Crystal Fire (imp.U.K.) daughter, immediately won our hearts with the most loving expression which met our gaze when he looked at us over the stable door. Fortunately the rest of him was just as good, and so we bought him straight away. He became a member of the family, and turned many “Arabian knockers into Arabian lovers” because of his wonderful nature, and the fact that one could do anything with him. He won many ribbons along with Supreme Champions as a led colt and young stallion, along with being my cattle horse on the property, and sired many top quality horses, both pure and whatever. He was a medium build stallion of 15.1 h.h. He was great to ride, very comfortable and a very, very safe mount. He saved my bacon a few times when out mustering, because he was looking where he was going and I was looking only at the beast we were chasing. He got cancer in his nose in 1990, and we operated and removed it several times, the last operation being quite invasive, resulting in his nostril growing almost closed on healing. He could breathe out, but not in through it, so I no longer rode him. He was the most amazing patient, allowing us to do the most horrible things to him, without a whimper. The vet was staggered at what he would allow us to do. However he survived for another ten years, but in 2000 the cancer came back but too high up to attempt to treat, so we were forced to put him down. We were devastated. He had been a full part of our family for so long - everyone loved him, even my son, a professed motor bike man.




We purchased “Orielton” a station in Outback Queensland, half way between Longreach and Hughenden, and east of Winton, in 1981, and moved up there. The horses were used for the first couple of years, and I bred some station horses by NASAN out of the first cross Quarter Horse mares which came with the property. However, logistics and modernisation dictated that it was much better to use motor bikes instead of horses to muster, using the horses only to drove the cattle to the yards, so that evolved, and then as jackaroos and ringers became more used to bikes than horses, the horses were phased out, being used only when it was too wet to get around any other way. As mustering was not being carried out then anyway, this was very infrequent. However, I kept breeding my numbers up, producing some lovely stock by NASAN, both purebred and partbred, with some Anglos as well, and then Endurance Riding came in vogue in the north with the inception of the Winton to Longreach Hall of Fame Endurance Ride, which was begun to commemorate the pioneers and their tests of endurance to settle the outback of Australia.


Horses on Orielton

My horses became very well known as good reliable endurance horses, and are now found all over Queensland. They have done very well in endurance, but are also popular because of their exceptionally good natures. I have always maintained that temperament was equally important as conformation, as if a horse has not got good conformation, but is still rideable safely, with good temperament, that horse can be a useful animal, but a horse can be the best looking horse ever born, but if it has a bad or dangerous nature, then it really is only fit for dog food. I will not keep a colt entire if I don’t consider it to be non dangerous around children. ALWAYS remembering that stallions are stallions, and as such one must treat them with the respect that any wild animal deserves. Instinct of the herd is a very real thing.

Because of moving to an area where it was very difficult to have access to any other Arabian stallions, I purchased a son-in-law for the NASAN daughters. This was a colt which I saw when he was 3 days old at Kelkette Park. His name was LYLE and he was by their lovely stallion K.P. Izak who was by the great old stallion Zarak a great grandson of the very famous endurance line, Shahzada (imp.U.K.) and one of the very few closer-up lines to that amazing horse. Zarak’s mother was also Royal Domino’s mother Scherzade. LYLE was out of K.P. Lysa, by Kizil Kum, again bringing in Royal Domino. LYLE’S dam also brought in the Polish line of Comet through the Ag. College stallion Cyrasa (imp. U.K.) who covered Lalla (Sala (imp. U.K.) x Urania, who was again a granddaughter of Shahzada (imp. U.K.) I thought this little chestnut colt was quite lovely, and my only complaint was that I thought he was a little short in the croup. How wrong could I have been!! He grew to have the longest croup of nearly any Arabian I’ve seen. He became a lovely stallion of 14.2 – 14.3 h.h., and after I’d had him for a while running with mares, I wanted to try him at endurance, so my friend Lucy Joynson of Townsville took him, trained him and rode him, and became his devoted friend. They took out the award of Queensland Endurance Horse of the Year, and Heavyweight Endurance Horse of the Year in 1993. LYLE sired many successful endurance horses in the north, and also many good stock horses. He acquired a following of admirers, who loved him for his sensible and reliable good nature as well as for his other attributes.

Orielton shearing

Orielton shearing shed

After LYLE went to Townsville, I had the good luck to be offered the Polish stallion LUMINOUS NIGHT (imp. U.K.) by Julia Cannon of the gulf country. Her father Jack Makim had bought four stallions in the U.K. and imported them. He told me that he bought L.N. as we called him, “because he had a leg at each corner, and he knew how to use every one of them”. Julia had no more use for the horse, so she sold him to me, and he became a very much loved member of our stud. After a while, we intended to move back to the family property in southern N.S.W. north of Wagga Wagga, and so I relocated some of the horses, including L.N. Subsequently he was leased for a while to Kelkette Park, then to Henley Farm, where he sired some very useful stock. Margy Bohm wanted him for Kelkette Park, as she had bought the mare Electra from the Makims and she was in foal to L.N. at the time, producing the lovely mare Silver Estelle. Due to a partnership split-up with my brother-in-law, we didn’t stay long back at the family property, returning to Orielton for another 10 years. We were also hit by a fourteen year drought, so I didn’t ever get L.N. back up there. He covered a few of my mares in N.S.W. before they returned to Qld. He was also leased by - but was put down when arthritis from an old hip injury made life difficult and painful. He was sadly missed, as he was such a character. He was a 14.3 h.h. grey, with slightly more solid build than NASAN and LYLE. Typical Polish really. His breeder Patricia Lindsay of the U.K. saw him at Henley Farm, and said he was very like his sire Burkan.


Horse yards on Orielton

Over all this time I had been building up my mare lines with a purchase here and a purchase there. I acquired a very handy genetic pool of foundation mares, a list of which is available on this site. I like the mix that I have, of mainly Crabbet blood with a very judicious backup of Old Colonial lines. Then there is the Polish input. This mix is one which is prized for producing good saddle horses with very few genetically fixed conformation faults. These mares have consistently produced good conformation and temperament in their foals, which have all gone on to be trusted saddle horses. Someone asked me one day if my horses could carry heavyweight, and when I thought about it, I realised that only a couple of my horses that had done endurance had actually not carried heavyweight. The majority of them have all been successful heavyweight horses, which proves their good conformation and stamina.

I was asked if I would take the stallion Bremervale Radiant Light (Majestic Light x Zena) as his owner could not keep him, so I did, but unfortunately we were in the grip of really bad drought, so I only put him with a partbred mare M.M. Lissa, for company and she produced two foals, the first of which damaged himself, and was put down, but the 2nd one M.M. Larry, is a very successful endurance horse, performing extremely well in Queensland before going on to be a highly prized performer in the Middle East. Radiant Light was a lovely old horse, and really nice to ride.


Trough on Orielton

My next stallion was a home bred one, MATTA MIA SULTAN by Nasan out of my Boyar mare, Matta Mia Sabiyieh. This has been a very good cross, producing 2 stallions and 3 mares. I used SULTAN for a couple of years and then sold him to Olaf Lochtenberg of Gympie, Qld. For an endurance horse and sire. His foals for me have all been very good quality and have proved themselves in the endurance field. Olaf has been very happy with his progeny, and with SULTAN who has impressed many people with his lovely quiet nature. The next colt Sabiyieh produced was also too good to cut, so he went to Lewis Trueman of Mackay, and was Best Man at Lewis’s wedding!

I then purchased a colt, another chestnut (I still did not get my much wanted bay) called GOOGABILLA LODGE OMAR, a double cross to Ausden Rimali, bred by Bjorn’s mother, who breeds good big riding Arabians. Rimali is 15.3 hands, so I figured that OMAR should throw height consistently. He is only 15.1, but he has a very strong body and legs which he consistently produces in his foals, and they are very consistently much taller than their mothers. They are just starting to prove themselves in endurance, and doing very well indeed. Omar again has a beautiful nature, and even though because of circumstances he has never had much training, I can almost control him by voice alone. He also has a very special character, being a complete busy body. He can’t stand anything happening around the place that he doesn’t have a say about, or at least know about. I’ve become very fond of him, though nobody will ever replace NASAN in my heart.




In 2002 Malcolm’s aunt died, leaving us her portion of the old family property, and as our son had married and was ready to take on the running of “Orielton”, we moved back down south to “Englefield” at Illabo, between Wagga Wagga and Cootamundra, west of Canberra. I cannot say that I like this country as well as “Orielton” for rearing horses, however we do what we must. “Orielton” was perfect country, being close to desert conditions, extremely hot for a lot of the year, and dry for most, making worms an unknown thing, while the Mitchell Grass has to be the best feed God ever invented. The horses ran in 5000 acre paddocks, in mobs of 10 to 30, and galloped for 20 k’s when they felt like a run of an evening. They grew up fit and healthy, with very little trouble to me!!! This country is quite different, and causes me lots more work! I have split up the big paddock into five paddocks, each 900 metres in length by 300 metres wide, giving them room to get up a bit of speed when running. Thankfully I have a hill for them to run up, giving them some lung stretching excercise. I have some good lucerne in most of these paddocks, but the severe drought of recent years has certainly made it difficult to look after the horses, with lots of hay and supplement being bought. And drench.


Englefield – rain on the foothills of the Blue Mountains

Now that I am back near Henley Farm, Tracey Stephens and I help each other out quite a bit. We also swap stallions sometimes. We realised that we wanted to obtain more LUMINOUS NIGHT (imp. U.K.) blood, but we did not have a son of his, so I contacted a friend who had bought a colt MATTA MIA KIMILE, by him out of K. KUM MARA. She had sold him on, but we were able to get him back, so he is now a resident stallion of both studs. He is a character like his dad, and is loved by all. He has sired some very useful stockhorses and pony club horses before coming back home, and has now started producing some very nice purebreds and partbreds. We look forward to seeing what his progeny can do in the endurance field. As he is an old horse now, I have kept a very nice colt by him out of MATTA MIA DIYANEH (H.F.Nasan x K.P. Blue Dawn)

I bought a lovely bay colt ZEYN DAHABDAMM from Helen Garland of Zeyn Arabians who had superb endurance bloodlines. His mother is full sister to Zeyn Shahzam who was no. 1 in the world, and was still no. 8 at 19 years of age. His sire is Wealdbarns Dominance, bred by Erica Williams. Unfortunately I only got one drop of foals from him, all very nice looking. He broke his leg and had to be put down. His progeny are just being broken in and starting training.

Horses at Englefield

Englefield – horses grazing

I also have a stallion here now MATTA MIA KEMAL by OMAR out of MATTA MIA KARA SABA, the last daughter of K.Kum Mara. He is a lovely young stallion, again with a lovely nature, and built very like Nasan, tall and rangy. His first foals are just hitting the ground, and so far, so good. We look forward to great things from him.

Last updatedMarch 25, 2011 12:58